Mizo Zirlai Pawl at a press conference in Aizawl, Mizoram Credit: EastMojo image

Aizawl: Barely a year after tension erupted at Zophai along the Mizoram-Assam border, Mizoram’s apex student body, Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), has decided to reconstruct a resting shed at the same area, which they claimed, was donated to the students’ body by former Mizoram chief minister late Ch Chhunga’s wife Lalrothangi.

The decision was taken at the executive meeting of MZP held here on Monday, MZP president L Ramdinliana said.

In March, 2018, the MZP constructed a wooden resting shed at Zophai, but was dismantled by Assam police. Thereafter, the MZP functionaries made another attempt to construct the resting shed but went in vain due to tussle with Assam police.

Renthlei said that an attempt to construct a wooden resting shed at Zophai in March last year remained futile due to a standoff between Assam police and MZP functionaries.

He added that the student body is firm on constructing a resting shed at Zophai as a result of which the executive meeting on Monday unanimously decided to make another attempt to construct Zofate Chawlhbuk (resting shed for Mizo community) on the border area.

Citing that they have high expectation from the new government headed by chief minister Zoramthanga, Renthlei said the student body, apart from submitting written appeals, had verbal conversation with the chief minister and home minister Lalchamliana on issues related to reconstruction of resting shed at Zophai and re-constitution of core committee to inspect border areas.

He alleged that the state government was not giving sincere concern to border issue as it failed to re-constitute the core committee till date.

The MZP has strongly appealed to the state government to give more concern to the border issue and thereby take massive effort to resolve the long standing border-dispute between Mizoram and Assam, he said.

Renthlei further said that the executive meeting also decided to send a team, within this month, to study the feasibility of constructing resting shed at Zophai.

Tension had erupted at Zophai along the Assam-Mizoram border on 8 and 10 March last year, when MZP functionaries attempted to construct a resting shed on the land, as claimed by them, donated by Lalrothangi.

At least 68 students and several journalists were injured when Assam police allegedly resorted to lathi charge and opened fire to disperse the protesting students during the border standoff.

Thereafter, a joint committee was constituted by Assam and Mizoram under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to identify illegal structures along a disputed stretch of the 64.6 km border between the two states. The joint committee began its exercise on 12 April last year.

However, the joint survey was suspended on 18 April following a dispute at zero point in Dholchera-Phaisen area.

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